Cologne Cathedral was completed 130 years ago and for 25 of those years skaters have firmly taken possession of Roncalliplatz in front of the southern façade. In recent years the scene has been increasingly viewed as a problem, a new “home” had to be found.
The result was a move away from the usual image of a skate park with lots of curves and ramps. The skaters wanted an urban area that offered obstacles and challenges just like in the city, only that these should be better arranged and more durable. The urban elements, such as steps, edges, terrain and green areas, should be re-interpreted and placed. No square like this had ever been built before.
The found piece of land lies directly on the Rhine, in the extension of the city’s most prestigious building area. It is easily accessible, although irreclaimable as it lies on the Rhine’s flood plain.
The IOC / IAKS Award jury liked this solution: “Offering built obstacles and challenges to the users, this skate facility reminds every one of the conflicts skaters often encounter in inner-city locations when they adapt public places to practice their sport. By choosing a very prominent location at the south end of a former industrial harbor which was converted to one of the city’s top spots, the municipality together with the designers and the skaters association found an exemplary way of letting skating become an integral part of urban Cologne life. Moreover, the linear design chosen for the skating area is very innovative and inviting which makes this public space not only a practice area for skaters, but also a major point of attraction for pedestrians and cyclists passing by.”
Client/Operator: City of Cologne Size of site: 2,000 m² Activity/Competition area: 2,000 m² Start of construction: 3/2011 Commissioning: 7/2011 Construction costs: Euro 500,000